The offseason can be a long and arduous journey for the NFL fan. Thursdays and Sundays feel empty and jerseys sit unworn in the closet. While one might be inclined to just give up and hibernate for the seven months between the Super Bowl and next season’s opening game, there exists one brief respite from the monotony and tedium of sports with spherically shaped balls.
No, it’s not the NFL Scouting Combine. It may be fun to watch the quarterbacks awkwardly run the forty-yard dash, but it doesn’t get the blood flowing in the way NFL fans crave. The event I am talking about is the NFL Draft.
I understand the draft can bit intimidating. Mel Kiper’s hair aside, the excessive analysis of random player measurements and college statistics is a lot to handle and oftentimes a bit overwhelming. The real fun in the draft comes from the way that it allows you, for one day in April, to be a fan again.
The draft is an excuse to pull that old Michael Vick jersey out of the closet, crack a beer and yell at the television. With the future of each team seemingly hinging on the draft, it’s easy to get into the hype and madness of each pick. Good picks inspire visions of Super Bowl victory — “This guy is the missing piece” — while bad picks elicit a chorus of boos.
Who could forget JaMarcus Russell? Predicted to be a game-changing franchise quarterback, Russell might be one of the most epic busts in the history of the draft. As the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, Russell garnered a huge contract worth $61 million with $32 million guaranteed while posting a 7–18 record as a starter and throwing only 18 touchdowns to 23 interceptions. Russell lasted only three years in the league until he was cut in 2010.
Even the late round picks carry with them some intrigue. Big names taken late in the draft include Marques Colston in the 7th round, Terrell Davis in the 6th round, Shannon Sharpe in the 7th and, of course, Tom Brady in the 6th round. The possibility of unearthing a late-round gem merely increases the excitement of the draft.
Carpe Diem! Don’t waste this opportunity to be a fan again and have a good time with football. Even if you don’t know anything about the draft, it’s better than watching hockey.